Thursday, March 13, 2014

German efficiency? Meet Belgian trespasser!

My train was, somewhat unexpectedly, five minutes late. It did look good though...

First class on ICE trains comes with waiter service, very efficient waiter service, in fact, but on the Brussels to Cologne route what doesn't seem to exist is wi-fi, which wasn't expected either. It is all a bit stark though, with the designer having clearly exchanged notes with his opposite number at Eurostar, using a palette consisting almost entirely of shades of grey, made even more cold by the leather seats - unlike Eurostar who at least have cloth upholstery.

ICE35 to Frankfurt arrives at Bruxelles Nord
That said, we were making excellent time with speeds reaching 250 km/h until the train began to slow, gliding effortlessly into the station at Ans, whereupon it stopped completely. There was a seemingly embarrassed silence from the trilingual train manager, before it was explained that we had trespassers on the line, and that we would be delayed a bit.

Whilst it is probably the most exciting thing to have happened in Ans for some time, I do have another train to catch, so as the train purred back into life, gliding slowly into the manta ray that is Liege-Guillemins station, I was pleased to see that we were only twenty minutes late.

So, how would I sum up a journey on the ICE train? Smooth, efficient in a way that only our Teutonic cousins can really do, but slightly soulless. Indeed, it is a romantic form of travel in the same way that giving your spouse a steam iron on St Valentine's Day would be romantic.

But enough of my complaining, as we're arriving in Cologne...

No comments: